Look Who's Talking
During the first years of life, children’s brains are developing rapidly and laying the foundations for learning. The interactions children have with the grown-ups in their lives influence how they develop and learn. Parents have the perfect opportunity to provide interactions that develop their child’s language and communication skills through every day activities and experiences. Being out and about with your baby is the perfect time to encourage language development from an early age and here’s how.
Babies love and respond to chit-chat! Chat to your baby when you are out and about, and remember to pause so that your baby can “answer” you, even if it is just a coo - your baby is learning the art of conversation!
When you are getting baby dressed, reading, shopping, driving in the car, in the bath, these are all good opportunities to model language through actions. “Mummy is putting on your hat. Let’s put on your shoes now”, or “It’s time for a story. Let’s have a look at the book”, and read, read, read to your baby!
Be the commentator as you go about your daily activities wherever possible so baby hears language in a variety of different settings. Pointing out things of interest along the way builds vocabulary and makes everyday chores like shopping a fun and interactive learning experience for baby. Keep the conversation animated, no-one likes dull conversation so be sure to keep baby entertained by varying your pitch, facial expressions and using animated body language. Remember to slow down your talk so that baby gets a chance to see your facial expressions and your mouth positions for speech sounds. Keep eye contact as much as possible.
Babies love props! Whether it’s a favourite fluffy, or a bath toy, keep the conversation entertaining with props where you can.
As baby gets older, they will start to learn through play. This provides a wealth of opportunities to engage and use their interests to encourage language. Playdough, art and craft activities, and dress-ups are just a few of the many activities that can be used to encourage language in a fun and meaningful way.
Baby’s language journey is an exciting one, so enjoy the ride! As parents we have a great opportunity to develop language and build the framework for baby’s future learning as we go about everyday life so let’s seize the opportunity! And while you are out and about and deep in conversation with your bundle of joy, be sun safe and protect baby with a Sam&Hugo UPF50+ protective Sun blanket. Happy talking!